What’s Wrong With Any Proposal Like This?

While the City Manager’s office has not shared the official version of this proposal, here’s why ANY proposal to alter the use of this property is a bad idea:

* Open green space is a precious resource in our over-asphalted city.  It’s our land, our air, our trees and wildlife. You don’t give it away.

* It’s heavily used.  Athletic leagues that depend on it it: Worcester Youth Soccer, Jesse Burkett Little League and AAA players, and Worcester World Cup. Ordinary residents that use it: runners, walkers, people with their dogs, parents and kids tossing balls, children building big snowmen. Hikers use the trails in the woodlands above the fields in all seasons.

* Children attend Chandler Magnet. As of this October, that student body is 88.1% low income, 71% Latino, and 63% English Language Learners.  Many of these kids are bused in from low-income neighborhoods, and their school is their only access to fresh air and green space.

* Any proposal that has cars driving all around the school these children attend jeopardizes their safety, health, and their learning. Increased traffic immediately around that school is an accident waiting to happen. The fumes and exhaust from those vehicles will impair their brain development. The noise and distraction from hundreds of students passing is not going to be good for their concentration.

* There are so many other ways to improve the parking and traffic problems. Worcester State has in its master plan a parking deck.  It should build a deck on its campus, or on the newly-acquired Temple Emanuel parking lot.
* Worcester State should incentivize students to use the 500-spot parking lot it paved last year into Airport Hill: give discounts on student fees to those who use it, run more shuttles, use a GPS app to let students know when the next one is coming, and so on.
* Should that lot fill up, the empty grocery store lot at the south end of Mill Street is within a 5 to 10 minute shuttle commute to WSU campus. It’s available, and it’s already paved.
* Bump-outs, a rotary, better crosswalks, diagonal parking along Chandler, parking passes for residents, meters: all of these would help. More asphalt is not the answer.
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